Worldwide—Digital Frontiers

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2017-2024

Region: Worldwide

Country: Global

Solutions: Digital Acceleration

Across the developing world, digital technologies are accelerating change at every level of society. The challenge is that, to date, these solutions have not matched the pace and scale of the problems they address.

Digital Frontiers is a buy-in mechanism available to Bureaus and Missions of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The project works closely with several Bureaus, particularly the USAID Inclusive Growth, Partnerships, and Innovation (IPI) Bureau’s Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub (ITR); More than 57 USAID Missions; the private sector; and international and local development organizations around the world.

Digital Frontiers works to advance the goals of USAID’s Digital Strategy and helps USAID have greater impact across its development portfolio by advancing digital tools and approaches in the areas of digital finance, digital inclusion, cybersecurity, digital literacy, ICT policy, emerging technology, and digital agriculture.

New Df.jpgWomenConnect Challenge grantee the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. Photo: Ramundo Media for DAI.

Sample Activities

  • Assess a USAID Mission or Bureau’s current programs and make recommendations for how they can better leverage digital tools or approaches to improve development impact.
  • Design and implement digital programs, including anything from a global call for solutions designed as a prize/challenge to implementing a large-scale digital agriculture program.
  • Promote best practices in the digital development field and help build the capacity of USAID staff to leverage digital approaches for development.

Select Results

  • Reached more than 10 million women through the WomenConnect Challenge, a global call for solutions to improve women’s participation in everyday life by meaningfully changing the ways women access and use technology.
  • Collaborated closely with USAID to design and pilot the Digital Ecosystem Country Assessments (DECAs), a flagship initiative of USAID’s Digital Strategy to identify development opportunities and risks in a country’s digital ecosystem. Building on the initial DECAs, Digital Frontiers and USAID developed the Digital Ecosystem Framework, a practical structure that identifies the core and cross-cutting elements of a country’s digital ecosystem and guides USAID’s digital development work.
  • Reached more than 12 million people through cybersecurity awareness campaigns. These campaigns were implemented under the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership, through which Digital Frontiers has more than 60 discrete activities.
  • Won a 2022 USAID Digi Award for educating and training businesses and individuals, especially young people, on digital safety and cybersecurity best practices in Southeast Asia and Mongolia.


Regional—Critical Infrastructure Digitalization and Resilience (CIDR)

The Critical Infrastructure Digitalization and Resilience program assists partner governments and in-country organizations to work with key stakeholders and experts to assess cybersecurity gaps and priorities, make recommendations, and map courses of action to improve the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure and key institutions.

Read More